May 11 (GMM) All the talk about Valtteri Bottas’ future has come “too early”.
That is the view of Felipe Massa, the former long-time Ferrari driver who today is the rising Finnish sensation’s teammate at Williams.
In the past days and weeks, 25-year-old Bottas has been increasingly linked with a switch to Ferrari, having reportedly signed a ‘pre-agreement’ for 2017.
Those stories were official played down in the Barcelona paddock, but – crucially – Bottas did not completely deny them, nor commit himself to Williams for the future.
But as far as 34-year-old Massa is concerned, the Bottas stories have jumped the gun.
“I think Valtteri is a fantastic talent,” he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV, “and he has a chance in the future. Perhaps in Williams, perhaps somewhere else,” said Massa.
“But people have begun to talk too early — it is too early to start talking two years in advance,” he insisted.
“You just have to focus on this year and perhaps also the next. But it is clear that he is a real talent and he has a very good future in formula one,” said Massa.
Interestingly, while Bottas continues to inspire Ferrari rumours, Massa – discarded by the Maranello team two years ago – is only three points behind, although the Finn did have to sit out Australia with his back injury.
For now, Ferrari is backing its current lineup of Sebastian Vettel alongside Kimi Raikkonen, although boss Maurizio Arrivabene said the latter Finn needs to earn his place in 2016 by continuing to perform.
“Bottas is in (the) future,” the Italian told Britain’s Sky in Barcelona, “and by future I mean Bottas is interesting. Like many other young drivers, he is performing very well.”